Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Vegetarian on Gelatin!

Close to twenty eight years of vegetarianism and I am faced with a meaty proposition.
Do I begin including gelatin into my daily diet? Searching for antidotes to thin hair and slack skin, while dreaming of an easy healing solution to maintaining strong cartilage, and healthy bones - I came across some research on gelatin.

At first grossed out by the notion of putting cow and/or pig; bones, hooves, and other 'cartilagy' parts into my body, I read more and realized it might be worth a shot. After a car accident,  x-rays showed the beginning of bone spurs in places I never imagined. The Doc also enlightened me of the beginnings to osteoporosis within certain vertebrae. What?? I am way too young for all of this stuff, right? I exercise, practice yoga, and eat a healthy vegetarian diet. I make sure I get enough protein, well maybe- most of the time... and, well isn't that enough?

Looking back, my finger nails chipped often and my skin required more 'work' to maintain it's healthy glow. According to research I found, gelatin would strengthen my bones (this includes growing stronger nails), stimulate more hair growth, and create cartilage, while healing bone issues too. It all seemed like a miracle- if I could get over the whole ingesting animal parts thing.

Fearing I would contract mad cow disease upon taking store brand quality gelatin-I did research. After all, what I put in my body absorbs into every cell of my being. If I am going to eat an animal, I want to know it was organically fed and free of pesky pesticides, anitbiotics and growth hormones. What went into the cow or pig would eventually go into me. If you are a happy meat eater, you may want to consider stewing up some organic broth soup to gain the benefits of gelatin. See link below.

After months of inner debate, and meditating on it (haha, yes it's true!) -I decided to try it and watch my body's reaction. I was afraid my body would reject it after being a vegetarian for so many years.
I found a pig gelatin from Germany that is certified organic. Europe has very high standards for the feeding, caring and keeping of animals that are to be used as food, this includes those parts left oevr used to make gelatin. So finding a Euro based source made me feel trusting enough to try it.

What is gelatin?
Gelatin is a translucent, colorless, brittle, flavorless solid substance, derived from collagen obtained from various animal by-products. It is commonly used as a gelling agent in food, pharmaceuticals, photography, and cosmetic manufacturing. Wikipedia

A slow shift to taking gelatin was the course for me. At first I took one capsule every other day, to make sure my body didn't have an odd reaction. I continued researching and found gelatin is high in important proteins my diet may have been missing with my limited diet. I started taking gelatin capsules with my Rawfusion protein drink after working out. It is easy to plateau when you work out a lot; see my post Fear is Exactly Where I Need to Be. Changing things up not only in your physical workouts, but in your diet is important too. For tips on shifting your diet, see my post; What to Eat When Working Out.

After four months of taking four gelatin capsules with my protein shake four-five times a week,
I have noticed a marked difference in my body's ability to heal and restore itself after working out, with a quicker turn around for recovery time. Issues of pain in my back, neck and spine from the car accident are disappearing and are almost gone.  I know this is a combination of chiropractic adjustments along with a mindful re-acclimation into working out again, but my back literally feels stronger now! Along with these benefits, I am noticing a new kind of sleek muscle definition in my body that is quiet exciting to experience after so many years of feeling over weight and bulky. On top of all of these benefits, my hair is growing more rapidly and looks healthier and thicker, my nails are stronger, my teeth are receiving much needed restoration and my body's over all energy levels are heightened!

Photograph taken by Clare Celeste Boersch of Gold Coyote Design

Read my post entitled Chunky Juicy Inner Thighs, here I talk about slack skin. After loosing and gaining a lot of weight, over and over again, my skin lost a certain elasticity. While it has only been four months in, and a low dosage of gelatin for me so far- (the gelatin bottle directions urge 3 capsules three times a day, I am not there yet!) My skin has begun to find a new taught-ness that while only slight, after living in this body for  forty-one years and knowing every angle and loose portion of skin that resides, it is exciting to begin feeling and seeing results that allow my body to find 'the firm foundation' I know is my personal underlying blueprint of a happy and healthy body.

I encourage you to do your own research and feel out if gelatin is something right for you, especially if you are mostly vegetarian and have a lifestyle that encompasses a lot of physical activity, whether dancing, movement, weight lifting or yoga..

Here are some links I enjoyed-
Gelatin, Stress and Longevity
Why Broth is Beautiful

Tuesday May

I am not a certified nutritionist, doctor or therapist. 
Please consult your healthcare professional before participating in any
 lifestyle changes you may feel are questionable to your health. 
I am not responsible for any action you resume, You are- Make it pleasurable.
© Tuesday May Thomas 2013

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